As the date for the oral arguments in the Supreme Court case over the Health and Human Services mandate nears, Newt Gingrich is concerned that Americans could be on the cusp of a significant loss of religious liberty.
“I think we’re in grave danger of losing our liberty and losing our religious liberty,” the former speaker of the House tells The Foundry. “I think it’s inconceivable that you could argue that the First Amendment doesn’t mean what the First Amendment says.”
On Tuesday, Supreme Court justices will hear arguments on whether the government can force two family businesses, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, to provide coverage of potentially life-ending drugs and devices in violation of their conscience under threat of crippling fines. These families argue that they are simply fighting for the freedom to continue providing health care coverage to their employees without facing government penalties.
“Clearly whether it’s Little Sisters of the Poor [an order of nuns that is fighting the same Obamacare mandate] or it’s Hobby Lobby or a variety of other cases,” Gingrich said, “you have a coercive government that is on certain grounds trying to create a totalitarian society in which you do what they say, whatever your beliefs are. And that’s a fundamental denial of being American.”
Speaking about Russia’s aggressive actions toward Ukraine, the former Republican presidential candidate said the Obama administration should be “approving the export of natural gas to Europe and approving the exploration of federal land offshore to drive down the price of oil and to weaken [Russian president Vladimir] Putin by depriving him by the kind of money he’s getting with the high price of oil.”
“Our first goal,” Gingrich concluded, “should to be to use an energy strategy that makes America wealthier, that makes Putin poorer, and that begins to weaken his ability to do anything else.”